Is a book about Jews of “Jewish Interest”?

Waterstone’s in Hampstead has a “Jewish interest” section containing The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand.

The main thesis of the book is that there is no “Jewish people”, just Jews.

Sand claims that Jews have no connection to what is now Israel and so no right to return there.

He states there was no expulsion of Jews by the Romans so the only true descendants of the original Jews are the Palestinians after all those Jews eventually adopted Islam.

So how could there at one stage have been 19 million Jews worldwide (13 million now)?

Easily, according to Sand, as all Jews are converts.

Sand says that eastern European Jews do not originate with the Jews who came from the Middle East via Ashkenaz (Germany) to Poland but with the Khazars, nomadic tribes that built an empire between the Black and Caspian Seas, converted to Judaism in the eighth century, and were scattered when their state was eventually destroyed.

Anita Shapira
does a solid deconstruction of this sorry book and notes how most websites that contain discussions of this subject are either those of White Power members or Islamic extremists:

“White Power members denounce Jews in U.S. government along the lines of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and explain that they are not really Jews but the descendants of the Khazars; they are therefore unworthy of American aid to restore them to the land of Israel.”

Some Jews of the time migrated to other areas in the Roman Empire but whether there was a violent expulsion or not there was a loss of Jewish sovereignty which was catastrophic enough to have been retained in Jewish memory. This loss is what has been passed down through the years by Jewish writers and historians. It was not a recent “Zionist creation”, as Sand implies.

A recent study has shown that Jews from the different regions of the world were found to share many genetic traits that are distinct from other groups and that date back to ancient times.

So The Invention of the Jewish People is just another anti-Zionist tome. The final chapter gives Sand’s real intentions away. In it he accuses Israel of racism and apartheid, he talks of worldwide Jewish power and calls for a bi-national state; all the default positions of your average anti-Zionist/Israel-hater.

That all said my argument is not with Sand. He can write what he likes. My argument is with respectable outlets that actively seek to promote this sort of anti-Jewish diatribe, Waterstone’s being a main culprit.

It is likely that The Satanic Verses would be considered too offensive for a “Muslim interest” section.

I was told that many Jewish customers have bought Sand’s book. Of course they have, just like they buy other books too.

Sand’s book is an attack on long-held Jewish beliefs and traditions. Being offensive to most Jews does not make it of general “Jewish interest” (by that reasoning Waterstone’s could place Mein Kampf there also, as was suggested to me by a Waterstone’s employee).

But Waterstone’s is emboldened by the Jewish Quarterly having nominated Sand’s book for its literary prize, among three other books.

The result of who wins the £4000 is soon to be announced and with anti-Zionist Anne Karpf being a judge Sand stands a decent chance.

The Independent recently published this letter:

No evidence of expulsion of Jews
C Cameron (letters, 27 March) is right to debunk the enduring myth of the “Jewish People”, a tale perpetuated by anti-Semites as well as Zionists. The “Wandering Jew”, expelled from his land, left stateless for centuries and waiting for his return to the promised land of his ancestors, is purely imaginary. There is no historical evidence of forced expulsion of the Judeans, and the overwhelming majority of Jews are descendants of converts.
Israel is a legitimate state because it was sanctioned by the UN in 1947. It should always remain a safe haven for persecuted Jews, but I don’t see why an assimilated European or American Jew should have any right to settle in Israel while denying that right to a poor Palestinian refugee whose grandparents were expelled from their own house 50 years ago.
Philippe Bareille
Stevenage, Hertfordshire

I went to hear Sand speak once and noticed a black woman clutching a signed copy of the book. I asked why she wanted to read it and she said that it is “finally proof of all she has ever been thinking”.

I would never usually mention skin colour but I feel it is relevant here. During the campaign for civil rights American Jewry was at the forefront fighting for all those deprived of such rights.

How short a person’s memory can be.

129 responses to “Is a book about Jews of “Jewish Interest”?

  1. Jonathan Hoffman

    http://cifwatch.com/2009/11/10/shlomo-the-sandlout/

    The man is every bit as obnoxious as the book.

  2. Interesting post, Richard.

    I have always read articles, blogs and books with opposing perspectives to mine. I think that’s the only way to go.

    I bought Sands’ book a month or two back and have really struggled to keep at it. Not because it comes from a different side of the argument to mine, but because it is very unreadable.

    I enjoyed watching you discuss it on Epilogue a month or so back. I also recall watching Mr Sands himself really taken to task about it on the BBC once. I think it was Hardtalk. Will try and dig out link later.

  3. richardmillett

    I agree but would Waterstone’s place The Satanic Verses in a “Muslim interest” section?

  4. I doubt they would, no.

    I’m not Jewish so I’m interested Richard – and anyone else – in your perspective on how self-critical the Jewish world is, when compared to other groups.

    Does it make you proud that such dissent can flourish, or do you despair of how such dissent can sometimes assist those who would harm you?

  5. richardmillett

    Good question. It would make me proud if dissent wasn’t so harmful. It isn’t really a problem with the dissenters though. It is the interpreters who choose to hear only what emboldens their own biased world view.

  6. Another outstanding post. Thank you for the information regarding Waterstones, you are quite right, i will write to them prompted by your article & i am sure many others will also.

  7. Jonathan Hoffman

    Yes Chas – it was Hardtalk. Stephen Sackur was the only journalist who confronted Sand knowledgeably when he was in the UK to promote the ‘book’. Andrew Marr by contrast was sickenly sycophantic.

  8. Jonathan Hoffman

    Go into any bookshop in Bloomsbury and look at the books they stock on Israel. Pappe, Shlaim, White, Sand – the lunatic fringe has become mainstream as far as these bookshops are concerned.

  9. Yvetta Bagel

    I’m reminded of the way Arthur Koestler’s book “The Thirteenth Tribe” played into the antisemites’ hands.
    I thought at the time, and still think, that Koestler, from a magyarised family, wrote that book because he wanted to convince himself that like the Magyars he was from a Turkic people – it must have comforted him on some level. Of course, Koestler was a Zionist in his youth and didn’t deny Israel’s right to exist – he maintained, however, that Diaspora Jewry should assimilate and disappear as a separate group.

  10. My book “The Jews of Khazaria, Second Edition” acknowledges the validity of the genetic studies showing Ashkenazim are related to other Jewish populations and adds to the genetic evidence numerous pieces of evidence from the study of history and names. It’s a must-read to counter Sand’s distortions and omissions. The Khazar element of Ashkenazic ancestry is smaller than the Israelite and Roman elements.

    http://www.khazaria.com/brook.html

    My book was simultaneously published in England and the United States.

    About Koestler and his numerous writings on Jewish identity and Khazars, I recommend Michael Scammell’s recent biography. (A curious thing: the British edition has a different subtitle than the American edition. The British subtitle better reflects Koestler’s frame of mind.)

  11. Was in a Waterstone’s recently and a pile (8+) of Sand’s book were prominently placed on a table in the history section.

  12. richardmillett

    Well, it isn’t history either. It should be in general politics or Middle East. History is better than Jewish interest though, just.

  13. My G-d, Modders, time to sound the alarm far and wide methinks: an 8+ pile, prominently displayed and in the history section too! Pogroms must now surely follow! When will you call for book burning? And can you please go and check the state of play in other major outlets too? Please report back on this vital matter, presto!

    Lemmesee, someone publishes a bookywook that casts some doubts on the orthodoxy of the origins of Jewry. So what?

    Those who obsess about their own origins should remember that once a large malignant group did the same, with disastrously lethal results…

    Those who obsess about Jewish origins are often also those who obsess about the origins of the ‘Fakestinians’…

    Is there anyone who believes Jews are more real or less real depending on whether they have ‘biologised’ themselves? Oh yeah, lemmethink… racists do that!

    Modders the Plonker, self-appointed High Priest of antisemitism supports people who are clearly intent on claiming that they are a… ‘race’. Would he support also such claims by black people? What a w*nker you are…

    • Gert I am most definately not a subscribed member to your fan club but would just like to thank you for showing respect for the whacko believers in G-d like myself (at a wild guess, I would bet you’re an atheist) and typing His name as I have here. Very considerate.

      It is quite a shitty book. Oh well. We’re used to it. There’s so much talk about existance and right to exist and do we exist and can we exist and should we exist etc.

      Admittedly if we discuss existance we can discuss that a Palestinian state has never existed but that’s me lowering the tone and that is not what this post is about. So I am sorry and lets get back on track. (Calm down everyone, I am now changing the subject)

      Admittedly some would find it baffling that such a hunted race (come on Gert, even you can admit that) are still around and still going strong and have their own state (ouch😉 ) but I wish they would just get over it and find other species that may or may not exist depending on world opinion.

      Onwards and upwards I say Gert.

      Shabbat shalom Gert, wishing you some sunshine in Bridlington. (Do you have the accent of a Yorkshire man Gert even though you’re from Belgium? Do you say “oop north?”)
      xx

      • Ruth:

        Who brought G-d into this? Not me. You’re entitled to believe what you want, it just so happens I don’t buy into the Great Social Worker in the Skies.

        You say it’s a ‘shitty book’: that’s your opinion. I haven’t read it and won’t read it. I leave reading it to those who are into genealogy. Jews exist, but watertight proof of the origins of Jewry probably doesn’t.

        As regards a ‘hunted race’, do you also consider African Americans a ‘hunted race’. In the case of Jewry a much maligned, persecuted group once the subject of extensive genocide. In my book there are no ‘races’, as modern genetics clearly shows. Loosely defined gene pools with diffuse borders and much influx and outflux, yes. But that doesn’t constitute a ‘race’. Sad how a people with such history and diversity want to essentialise themselves into a ‘bag of genes’, as if culture, history and religion aren’t far more important markers…

        As regards the non-existence of a past Palestinian state, neither did an Israeli state ever exist, at least not in the modern sense of the word, until 1948. Do you also support the right of the many other so-called First Peoples to their respective reconquistas? What a world that would be, eh?

        As regards my accent it’s irrelevant but since you ask so nicely, I speak the Queen’s English, naturellement…😉

  14. Does Modders also obsess about his own ‘Englishness’, you cannot help but wonder… Please provide proof of your lineage back to Drake (AT LEAST), lest the BNP not qualify you as a ‘real Briton’…

  15. Richard:

    Suppose, entirely for argument’s sake that incontrovertible truth existed that you are a descendant of a Khazar convert. Would it make you less Jewish? Would you feel any less Jewish? Would you be less Zionist? I’ll answer that as: no, no and no…

    Tell me again how Zionism isn’t supposed to be about ‘indigenousness’…

  16. Check out the four judges of the JQ books: none of them are academics in Jewish history.

  17. richardmillett

    I agree, Gert. I have no issue with the book being written but the way it is used to provide ammunition for Israel’s enemies and how it is taken seriously by many respectable institutions. It is propaganda passed off as history. As someone suggested, it should be in the fiction section, or even humour, but not in a Jewish or history section.

    • Richard:

      If you’re going to consider the book ‘propaganda’ (a very loaded term), then I suggest that you at least call it ‘counter-propaganda’. The idea that Jewish origins justify the displacement of so many Palestinians (an ongoing process to this day – ‘we indigenous, they not’) to make room for ‘Holy Land II’ is at the heart of Zionist propaganda. Any doubts regards the orthodoxy of Jewish origins is therefore threatening to it.

      You say so yourself: you refuse to accept Sand’s thesis, not on the grounds of truth you have, but on the grounds that it threatens to delegitimise Israel.

      Based largely on an unreliable text (Exodus), as far as propaganda goes it must be considered largely mythological: how else should a text marbled throughout with supernatural nonsense be considered? Because some believers believe it? That doesn’t make it true, it makes it a belief system…

  18. Good news, Richard. The UK’s leading expert in Romano-Jewish history, Martin Goodman, has at last review Sand’s book:

    http://inventionofthejewishpeople.com/2010/03/that-tls-review-%E2%80%93-shlomo-sand%E2%80%99s-invention-of-the-jewish-people-%E2%80%93-martin-goodman-responds/

  19. The TLS review by Goodman is SO scathing, that the websites for Sand’s book don’t dare copy or link to it, merely Sand’s response

    • Zkharia:

      The TLS review by Goodman is SO scathing […]

      The review by J. Hoffman, the Don Quixote of British Zionism, was even more scathing.

      Scathingness now passes for expertise, does it? I would argue that scathingness shows a poverty of ideas…

  20. I’m trying to find a link. Here, meanwhile, is Goodman’s response to Sand’s response:

    The Jewish ‘natio’

    Sir, – Shlomo Sand’s response (Letters, March 12) to my review of the parody of historical scholarship he presents in his book illustrates perfectly the accuracy of my critique (February 26). In his letter, as in the book, he substitutes belligerence for argument, and misrepresents the research by others which he quarries. His letter is replete with irrelevance, innuendo and inaccuracy, but I shall confine myself here to a refutation of the personal attack he has chosen to make on my honesty as a reviewer. It would have been self-indulgent in a review of a book which includes so many untruths about other historians to have used the space to demolish his claims about me, since he refers explicitly to my work only in two footnotes (six lines in one footnote, and two lines in the other). But since he has now been foolish enough to challenge my integrity on the grounds that I did not discuss these references in my review of his book, I am more than happy to oblige here.

    Sand asserts in his book and repeats in his letter the claim that my book Mission and Conversion (1994) betrays an “ethnocentric” approach to Jewish history, and that this approach arises from my having written part of it in Jerusalem, “the eternally united capital city of the Jewish ‘natio’”. Such geographical determinism would be weird in any case, but it is exceptionally bizarre in this instance. Sand has no evidence about my views on the present and future status of Jerusalem, but how he comes to claim that any of my work was carried out in Jerusalem is not difficult to guess, since on the first page of the preface I express thanks for hospitality, during the final stages of checking the typescript in 1993, to the Institute for Advanced Studies, which is based in Jerusalem. But if Sand had looked two paragraphs up on the same page, to the first lines of the preface, he would have seen that the book contains the “Wilde Lectures in Natural and Comparative Religion” as delivered in Oxford between January and March 1992, long before I was at the Institute. Does he want to say that, in the process of checking the final typescript, aberrant ideology must have crept into my interpretation of ancient history like an infection? Or that anyone prepared in 1992 to accept an invitation to take up a visiting fellowship in 1993 at Israel’s National Institute for Advanced Studies must already have been infected from afar?

    Sand has also failed to notice that there is nothing whatever “ethnocentric” about the rest of the book, which is (unsurprisingly, given its title) a study of religious conversion. His assertion in his book that I attempt “to deny entirely the missionary aspect of Judaism” is a particularly breathtaking falsehood, since Chapter Seven of my book is devoted to tracing in some detail the evidence for the emergence of strong missionary ideas in rabbinic texts in late antiquity.

    MARTIN GOODMAN
    Oriental Institute, Pusey Lane, Oxford.

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article7074261.ece

  21. Typical Sand idiocy:

    ‘It is sad that a scholar teaching at Oxford still believes that “nations” existed in Antiquity and, moreover, ignores the fact that relative demographic stability up until the modern era was largely due to limited capacities in food production.’

    Where does Sand think the term ‘nation’ came from, and why does he think it was applied to Jews from Antiquity?

  22. Leonard Gold

    If you accept the logic of the book, it would appear that Hitler Killed 6 milion of the wrong people. Tough !

    • Goldman:

      If you accept the logic of the book, it would appear that Hitler Killed 6 milion of the wrong people. Tough !

      What a horrible thing to say, even in ‘jest’: six million dead, Sir!

      • Gert thank you for advising Mr Gold here what we should and should not joke about. You posted this on Richards piece on the floating terror water carnival

        “But it seems no one buys Israel’s bullshit anymore: so some hotheads were defending themselves or attacking the special ops (I must admit that the special op guy who was pushed from the upper deck to the lower made me laugh: he didn’t see that one coming😉 )”

        So you laughed? How deep was the laugh Gert? Was it like a chuckle, a snigger or a full on rolling on the floor belly laugh? Did you keep playing that scene on repeat for entertainment purposes?

        When you played it on repeat was it still funny time and time again or did the novelty of a Jewish soldier being (potentially mortally) injured wear off after a while reducing your reaction to a mere smile?

        Now if this young soldier was G-d forbid paralysed from being thrown down by the terrorist shahids on the ship and you saw him on the news in a wheelchair do you think it would make you laugh again? Close your eyes and picture the image and does it cause the corners of your lips to curl up and give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside?

        But anyway, thanks for the tips on what we should and should not laugh at. Much appreciated.

  23. What’s really amusing for an ‘outsider’ like me is that when Sand’s book pops up, all the wannabe, quasi and pseudo historians of the world come out of the wood work. Mostly PolSciers, or ‘sociologists’ (or even lesser ‘disciplines’), all of them see themselves as another Josephus, capable of interpreting complicated and highly specialist texts.

    What’s more, thanks to the advent of the wonderful science of genetics (but that has is downfalls too, trust me…) they all become ‘expert’ geneticists too, when in reality they can’t tell their allele from their genome and would be decidedly too lazy to actually study this really hard scientific paradigm…

  24. Gert, you seem to set yourself up as something of an expert too, even though you boast your ignorance saying “I haven’t read the book.” And Richard didn’t say the book was propaganda, he said it is “used as propaganda” by those who wish to delegitimise Israel.

  25. Adam:

    Actually he wrote:

    It is propaganda passed off as history

    (comment at 5.35 PM)

    It doesn’t get much clearer than that…

    I don’t “boast” ignorance: I stated why the book is of no interest to me. Even the most expert historian will accept that establishing exactly what happened x,000 of years ago is difficult to say the least. From the reviews on Sand’s book I glean that it puts forward a number of points that many historians consider established, received wisdom. So no mater how you look at it, opinion is clearly divided.

    Thus anyone who is honest about it, and not a ‘counter-propagandist’ like Richard ‘I’m not a Zionist’ Millett, would declare himself agnostic on the matter…

  26. ‘What’s really amusing for an ‘outsider’ like me is that when Sand’s book pops up, all the wannabe, quasi and pseudo historians of the world come out of the wood work.’

    You mean like Professor Martin Goodman, the leading historian in Roman Jewish history in the UK?

    From The Times Literary Supplement
    February 26, 2010
    Secta and natio

    MARTIN GOODMAN

    Shlomo Sand
    THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
    Translated by Yael Lotan 332pp. Verso. £18.99.
    978 1 84467 4220
    In ad 67, a year after the Jews of Jerusalem had begun their war against Rome, a certain Antiochus, the son of the leader of the local Jewish community in the great city of Antioch in Syria, brought about a massacre of some in this community by alleging that his fellow Jews were plotting to burn the city to the ground. Those who survived were compelled, at Antiochus’s instigation, to sacrifice in the pagan manner: Antiochus wanted to prove his change of allegiance, and he knew the most effective way to attack his fellow Jews. Soon afterwards the remaining Jews were accused of responsibility for a fire which did in fact burn down the market square and surrounding buildings. The Roman authorities only with great difficulty restrained the local mob from killing the rest of the Jews in the city, even though it turned out on investigation that the incendiaries had been not Jews, but debtors who had hoped to free themselves from their burdens by destroying the public archives.

    What was to happen to these diaspora Jews when, some three years later, the city of Antioch was visited by Titus, conqueror of Judaea, who had destroyed Jerusalem so thoroughly as to “leave future visitors to the spot no ground for believing it had ever been inhabited”? The people of Antioch greeted Titus with acclamations and a petition to expel the Jews from their city, to which Titus responded that this was not possible: “their own fatherland, to which, being Jews, they ought to be banished, has been destroyed, and no place would now receive them”.

    These stories and quotations come from the last book of Josephus’s account of the Jewish War, which was composed soon after the events as a work of history for Roman readers, including Titus himself. If what Josephus wrote was true, what is one to make of the claim in Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People, that there was no exile of the Jews in ad 70, that the notion of such an exile was the product of Christian theology later adopted by the rabbis, that modern Jews are all the descendants of gentiles from outside Judaea who converted to Judaism as a religion, and that the Jews were not, and should not now, be considered as a people until the Jewish people were “invented” in the nineteenth century? Is there anything at all to be said for Sand’s much-hyped hypotheses? Certainly it is true, and has always been well recognized, that the dejudaization of Jerusalem was not instantaneous in ad 70. A Roman legion was quartered there, but the early rabbinic sources (almost totally ignored by Sand) refer to Jews among the ruins, and it was not until the failure in ad 135 of another uprising, the Bar Kokhba war, that Jews were forbidden to enter into the territory of the city. The explicit testimony to this ban in the writings of Justin Martyr in around the 140s ad is incomprehensibly dismissed by Sand as the product of Christian theological bias, but it is hard to know why Justin, who came from Palestine and was a sophisticated author in the Greek rhetorical tradition, would lay his argument open to easy refutation on the grounds that his assertion about the exclusion of the Jews from their home city was simply not true.

    It is also a well-known fact that exile for these Jews was only from Jerusalem and its environs, not from all the areas that had at times been part of the Roman province of Judaea in the first century ad or constituted “the land of Israel” for the rabbis – indeed, much of the rabbinic literature of late antiquity was composed in Galilee, including the Mishnah. It is hard to imagine that this information can come as a surprise to Israelis of any background in the light of the considerable efforts made in recent years to build up tourism to sites of Jewish settlement in late Roman Palestine, such as Sepphoris.

    But (as everyone also knows) many Jews in late antiquity were to be found scattered around the wider Roman world, not just in the diaspora in the eastern Mediterranean coastlands where Jews had been established long before ad 70, but also in parts of the western Mediterranean and in northern Europe where they are attested only after Jerusalem had been destroyed. Where did these Jews come from? Sand claims that not just some, but the great majority, of these diaspora Jews were descended not from inhabitants of Judaea, but from converts, and this is where his discussion substitutes belligerence for argument. Sand’s analysis starts from the assumption that the total population of Jews in the Roman Empire was so huge that it can only have come about through widespread conversion, but this assumption itself is faulty. He confidently cites the figure of a total of 4 million Jews in the Roman Empire in the first century ad, a number derived, via a series of wholly random guesses, from a figure which was itself long ago shown to be an error which crept into scholarly literature in the nineteenth century on the basis of a confused reference by the thirteenth-century Syriac author Bar Hebraeus to the total number of Roman citizens in the time of Claudius.

    And if the Jewish population did indeed grow disproportionately to the non-Jewish population in the early centuries ad, the impact of Jewish opposition to abortion and infanticide deserves to be taken a great deal more seriously as an explanation than it is by Sand, who seems to be totally ignorant of the standard methods of population control, including child exposure, in the pagan Roman Empire. That some non-Jews converted in this period, not least for intermarriage, is not in doubt, and the evidence adduced by Sand (as for many of his allegedly radical assertions) is all standard. But to imagine that mass conversion to Judaism could have taken place in this period on the same lines as the conversions of whole populations to Christianity within the Christian Roman state from the fourth century, without evoking considerably greater hostile evidence from the Roman state in either its pagan or its Christian guise, is desperately implausible, given the illegality of male conversion to Judaism in the Roman world from the mid-second century.

    No less implausible is Sand’s claim that the Jews were regarded only as a religious group after ad 70, and not as a people. It is of course true that the complex identity of Jews as both a religion and a nation is a stock topic of undergraduate essays in the (perfectly respectable) academic field of Jewish History so despised by Sand, and the same topic has recently absorbed the energies of the Supreme Court in London. And the Christian Roman state, which from the late fourth century categorized all its inhabitants to a considerable extent by religious identity, referred to the Jews also primarily in religious terms — as a “secta”, “superstitio”, or (on rare occasions, more politely) as a “religio”.

    But there is also no doubt that both pagan and Christian Romans sometimes thought of the Jews as a people (and in this respect the terminology used about Jews is very different from that used about Christians, about whom Sand has remarkably little to say). Near the end of the third century, 200 years after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple but still under a pagan Roman emperor, the author of a legal tome called the Sententiae referred to these “iudaei” as a “natio”, which is unambiguous, and the same terminology can be found in a law, preserved in the fifth-century Theodosian code, of the Christian Emperor Constantine II: on August 13, 339, he gave judgement on the punishment to be inflicted on Jews who bought a slave “of another secta or natio”. The same term “natio” was employed about the Jews by the aristocratic pagan poet Rutilius Namatianus when he vented his rage in verse against a Jew whose bad temper ruined a visit he made, at some time between 415 and 417, to some particularly pleasant fish-ponds near Faleria, which he encountered on the way from Rome to his property in his native Gaul.

    What has possessed Shlomo Sand, a Tel Aviv historian of contemporary European history, to write about a subject of which he patently knows so little? The answer is refreshingly simple. His aim, which he does not try to disguise, is to undermine the claim of Israeli Jews who come from diaspora communities to have returned to the land from which their people originated. He hopes thereby to help to turn the state of Israel into a more equal democratic society in which the origins of its Jewish and Arab inhabitants are ignored.

    Now, Sand’s political concerns for the present and the future may indeed be justified, since there is no doubt that keeping the state of Israel both Jewish and democratic is proving by no means easy – not at all a new insight, as the many studies cited by Sand himself in his final chapter go to show. But this political stance cannot be justified by an appeal to invented history. It is not just Sand’s ancient history that is faulty. His account of the historiography of the Jews over the past two centuries, with his constant polemic against Zionist historians, is ludicrous.

    In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Jewish intellectuals referred to the notion of race no more than others in Europe at the time, and such language fell out of use among Jewish historians long ago. A concern with the racial genetics of contemporary Jews is Sand’s, not theirs: anyone walking down the street in Tel Aviv can see the genetic diversity of modern Israeli Jews. It is extraordinary to claim, as Sand does, that Jewish historians have suppressed knowledge of the remarkable conversion of the Khazars to Judaism in or around the ninth century; on the contrary, they have frequently revelled in it. Sand’s whole discussion of this topic is, as the historian Israel Bartal put it in a devastating review published in the French journal Cités, “l’invention d’une invention”. One can only speculate about the reasons for Sand’s so frequent misrepresentation of the books he quarries, but the result is farcical.

    Why bother at all to review such a book? So far as I know, no scholar who works on Jewish history in the Roman period has deigned to pay it any attention. But such lordly disdain is dangerous. The cover of Sand’s book proclaims it an international bestseller, and it has been widely discussed by journalists and on television and radio both in Israel and France, and now in Britain. For the general public, what catches the attention are the headlines, not the arguments or the evidence, and it is revealing that there is evidently an appetite for such claims among secular Israeli Jews.

    But, more worryingly, the book has also received praise from historians and others who ought to have known better. These enthusiasts do not presumably know the material about which Sand writes, but they like his conclusions, and they have presumably been taken in by the impression that his book is scholarly history – an impression created by large numbers of footnotes referring to a wide array of scholarship (much of it only in fact half-digested) and an opening chapter which gallops competently enough through standard discussions about the construction of national identities and the notion of ethnicity before the author turns to his highly dubious claims about the Jews.

    In a self-glorifying preface to this book, Sand describes his role as that of a revealer of inconvenient facts suppressed by a malicious political and academic establishment. Some of those who have expressed approval of his book may believe that, like the Israeli New Historians whose discovery of genuinely new data on the events of 1948 has indeed caused much discomfort to that establishment, Shlomo Sand, too, has faced opposition because he has unearthed something new. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  27. ‘Why bother at all to review such a book? So far as I know, no scholar who works on Jewish history in the Roman period has deigned to pay it any attention. ‘

  28. ‘Mostly PolSciers, or ‘sociologists’ (or even lesser ‘disciplines’)’

    But that is exactly what Sand claims makes his work special: he admits he has no academic grounding or training in the subject, but claims it’s his polsci and sociological theory that makes up for it.

  29. Zhakarya:

    You mean like Professor Martin Goodman, the leading historian in Roman Jewish history in the UK?

    No, I meant commenters like you who obsessively post long tracts whenever and wherever the subject of Sand’s book pops up.

    Regards the genetic angle, I think it was about 2 years ago when Ha’aretz linked to a genetic study that showed the genetic basis of Jewry to be decidedly flimsy. I read it, with a degree in chemistry in hand, and found it really hard going. Is there anyone out there that’s an actual practicing geneticist that could convince me to take that study any less or any more serious than the latest one?

  30. As regards the ‘delegitimisation argument’, I see far more Jewish/Zionist reaction up in arms against the book than I see anti-Zionists trying to delegitimise Israel by means of Sand’s arguments.

  31. ‘No, I meant commenters like you who obsessively post long tracts whenever and wherever the subject of Sand’s book pops up.’

    All I posted was the opinion of the leading UK academic in Roman Jewish history.

  32. What’s significant is that ignoramuses like you obsessively defend a non-specialist like Sand precisely because he affirms your prejudices.

  33. Daniel Marks

    I say this with little joy, but I find myself agreeing with many, if not most of the points that Gert has made in this discussion.
    Judaism is not a race and we define ourselves on the basis of our covenant with our maker – genetics do not enter into it.

    I, like Gert, am a complete ignoramus in the field of bout genetics and DNA markers (other than what I glean from CSI).

    I would, however, imagine that one could, on the one hand, take a non-Jew whose father and mother’s father are direct descendants of Abraham Isaac and Jacob but whose mother is not Jewish.

    On the other hand, a few years ago we adopted a French Christian priest and his family who converted to Judaism. While the former doubtless is at least 75% genetically Jewish but 100% a goy, the latter may be zero percent genetically Jewish but 100% Jewish.

  34. richardmillett

    I don’t totally disagree with Gert but genetics wasn’t the main point of my post. The fact remains Jews define themselves as a nation and always have done and so have a right to have a nation state where it is.

  35. ‘The fact remains Jews define themselves as a nation’

    They certainly have defined themselves historically as a people in exile. But, no less importantly, so have historically most of the host societies and cultures in which they have lived, including the forebears of most of the those who vociferously deny the Jews have been so defined historically.

  36. Zkharya:

    What’s significant is that ignoramuses like you obsessively defend a non-specialist like Sand precisely because he affirms your prejudices.

    Stating that I didn’t read and won’t read the book counts as “obsessively defend a non-specialist like Sand precisely because he affirms your prejudices”?

    Jews are Jews, their origins aren’t of interest to me. But I note again that there certainly once existed a very large criminal gang who took a great interest in these matters, with disastrously lethal consequences…

  37. Ruth:

    Was it like a chuckle, a snigger or a full on rolling on the floor belly laugh? Did you keep playing that scene on repeat for entertainment purposes?

    A chuckle and snigger. No to the second question. No wonder you don’t like me much if that’s the mental picture you’ve built of me.

    Now if this young soldier was G-d forbid paralysed[…]

    He wasn’t paralysed though, was he? A very moot point…

    Do you think the murder of six million people is somehow comparable to the fall of one soldier?

    • Gert,
      Whilst I would not ever profess to being an angel (I’m far from it) I cannot bring myself to laugh or find entrainment in the death, injury or humiliation of a fellow human being. Believe it or not even of an enemy.

      For instance, you know all that old footage that’s played again and again from the 73’ war showing Arab soldiers captured by the IDF with their hands on their heads surrendering? You know, the ones with the Arabs looking a little humiliated but otherwise very relaxed (as the IDF, unlike themselves do not execute and torture captured enemies for sport). Watching the footage most definitely does not make me chuckle or snigger but makes me wonder who these captured Arabs are and if they are married, have children etc. Enemies or not Gert, they are human after all and have blood running through their veins as red and yours and mine as do Jewish soldiers.

      Even if it was in my nature to elicit pleasure from the pain of another (which it’s not), we have in our book Proverbs “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and when he stumbles, let not your heart exult. Lest G-d will see and it will be bad in His eyes” (Proverbs 24:17)”. Take G-d out of the equation and it’s still good spiritual advice to pull us back from going down the path of becoming a bit sadistic? Surely we can agree that the path of sadism is not a good one?

      As for the six million. I read countless material on the subject, I have visited all the concentration camps in Poland, stood in the gas chambers of Auschwitz reciting prayers too holy to mention here for the dead and I still do not feel qualified to speak with authority on the subject. I still do not understand what six million is. How do you begin to discuss six million Gert?

      Obviously no one would argue it’s remotely comparable, but we are discussing here what tickles our soul and makes us laugh not comparing tragedies.

      I also admittedly do not know the fate of that soldier but am concerned for him as being thrown down a deck in such a manner can clearly lead to a very serious injury. Although if you find that funny then I can’t see how you would not find the result of the injury equally funny but let’s give you the benefit of the doubt.

      Anyway Gert, clearly we have a different belief system. So does that make me a better person than you? I say no. But I conclude that we are just very very different.

  38. No. To “obsessively defend a non-specialist like Sand precisely because he affirms your prejudices” is to “obsessively defend a non-specialist like Sand precisely because he affirms your prejudices”.

    Which is what you were doing, by accusing me me of ‘obsessively post long tracts whenever and wherever the subject of Sand’s book pops up’ because I quoted the leading UK academic in Roman Jewish history.

    Evidently you must think him as one of those ‘commenters like you who obsessively post long tracts whenever and wherever the subject of Sand’s book pops up.’

  39. ‘Jews are Jews, their origins aren’t of interest to me.’

    No, of course not. Just when your prejudices about them are confirmed as suits you.

  40. zkharya:

    In what way does not being interested in Jewish origins implies having prejudices?

    Where are the ‘prejudices against Jews’ in my writing?

  41. Zkharya:

    Are you also well versed in the origins of the many other Peoples of the world? Assuming you aren’t well versed with regards to the origins of at least some of them, does your ignorance cause you to be prejudiced against/about them?

  42. Gert, your prejudices assert themselves when you deny Jews the right to self-determination – and feel so passionately about it that you dedicate your life to attacking the Jewish state – alone, of all nations, on earth.

    You have a problem.

  43. ‘Where are the ‘prejudices against Jews’ in my writing?’

    Easy: you de facto leap to defend or promote Sand by automatically attacking his critics as “commenters like you who obsessively post long tracts whenever and wherever the subject of Sand’s book pops up”, including the leading academic in UK Roman Jewish history, Martin Goodman.

  44. “Are you also well versed in the origins of the many other Peoples of the world? Assuming you aren’t well versed with regards to the origins of at least some of them, does your ignorance cause you to be prejudiced against/about them?”

    I don’t automatically leap to slander any critic of the historians of any of them as ““commenters like you who obsessively post long tracts whenever and wherever the subject of said historian’s book pops up” simply because it conforms to my prejudices to do so, or for any other reason.

  45. Zkharya:

    You’re intent on making your gratuitous and reflexive judgment about my ‘prejudices’ stick. It’s not working. You can’t prove any ‘prejudice’ at all.

  46. Adam:

    You’re a more worthwhile case because you jump even more to gratuitous conclusions and are clearly intent on denouncing anyone who’s critical of Israel’s actions as a ‘prejudiced person’.

    Listen, son. I’ll explain my positions again in a nutshell:

    1. The right to self-determination isn’t an automatic one and isn’t a panacea for all problems. In the case of Israel its self-determination has been very detrimental to the self-determination of another people.
    2. Israel exists. Like Finkelstein/Chomsky (and also Sand) I agree that Israel’s legitimacy derives from its existence (that is true of most states, by the way).

    Please try and come up with a coherent argument instead of cheap, hollow, second-hand twaddle. Or would you prefer to crap on about the Flemish Waffen SS again?

  47. Gert, you really are so dishonest.

    You describe yourself as an anti-Zionist – to a Pakistani publication (a real bastion of liberal values – well done Gert). As a Zionist is someone who supports a Jewish homeland, it follows that you do not. Nothing to do with Israel’s actions (the Arabs’ actions are always wonderful of course) – everything to do with hating the Jewish state.

    Do you honestly think you fool anyone? I have decided to be an anti-Flandrist. Even the Dutch think they’re weird.

  48. The Flemish were keen participants in the SS, far more than their fellow countrymen from Wallonia. I see it really hurts you. Good – hope it does.

  49. ‘You’re intent on making your gratuitous and reflexive judgment about my ‘prejudices’ stick. It’s not working. You can’t prove any ‘prejudice’ at all.’

    You proved it with your own mouth!

  50. Or fingers, or whatever.

  51. Adam:

    It’s clear that to maintain the image in your mind of me you need to cling to some phantasmagorical belief systems, rather than facts, as well as some things that are irrelevant to all this.

    Whatever the Pakistani Spectator is (liberal or not) they asked me (and a whole raft of other bloggers, of course) for an interview and I complied. A blogger on my blogroll is a self-proclaimed American Communist, he gave one too. So what?

    Regards what is Flanders or what it isn’t is completely immaterial to this discussion. It seems to me your main point about criticism of Israel that it is hurtful to you. Grow a thick skin.

    Gideon Levy had a funny piece in Haa’retz called ‘The Patriot’. It seems to apply largely to patriots around the world. Perhaps you can recognise yourself in it?

  52. modernityblog

    Thanks zkharya for the links.

    I think this discussion demonstrates at least two issues:

    1) Whatever the merits or demerits of Sands book, the ***reaction*** to it is illuminating. Those who showed a predisposition in the past towards prejudice against Israelis and Jews generally applauding it.

    And it is interesting to think why, obviously as the book has absolutely nothing to do with the Palestinians, the actions of the Israelis or some such, rather the reaction to it is aimed at delegitimising the existence of Jews.

    It is a very common theme on the Far Right and has been for years. I’m sure that if your stomach could stand it and you peruse David Duke’s work you would see the “Khazer” argument and similar themes, in all its glory.

    So you have to ask, why is Sand’s book taken so seriously, by those who apparently know nothing of the subject?

    Is it because they suddenly taken interest in the origin of the Jews, or history ?

    Or more likely, does it echoes their prejudices?

    2) Whilst Gert might have some use as a foil and help to bring out issues, I think the above thread and many others show how worthless it is to discuss anything with him, outside of a weather forecast.

  53. Modders:

    Whatever the merits or demerits of Sands book, the ***reaction*** to it is illuminating. Those who showed a predisposition in the past towards prejudice against Israelis and Jews generally applauding it.

    I see far, far more upset and upheaval about the book on the Zionist side than on the anti-Zionist side. Zionists are afraid the book might deligitimise Zionism (it doesn’t) because they feel Zionism is based on the opposite of Sand’s thesis. In extremis that leads to Wilders’ views…

    And it is interesting to think why, obviously as the book has absolutely nothing to do with the Palestinians, the actions of the Israelis or some such, rather the reaction to it is aimed at delegitimising the existence of Jews.

    The book is loathed by Zionists because they feel the opposite of Sand’s thesis legitimises the Zionist enterprise. Jews aren’t deligitimised by arguments about their precise origins.

    It is a very common theme on the Far Right and has been for years. I’m sure that if your stomach could stand it and you peruse David Duke’s work you would see the “Khazer” argument and similar themes, in all its glory.

    The Khazar argument has been around for some time. Some antisemites have distorted the argument for their own ends. Most antisemites do see Jews as a ‘race’, an inferior/superior one depending on their warped views.

    Any idea can be used/abused: that is not relevant to the validity/invalidity of the argument. The truth stands on its own.

    Do you believe that the Creationist claim that Evolutionary Biology is science trying to prove G-d doesn’t exist somehow invalidate Evolutionary Biology? Their version is science abuse but it doesn’t affect the validity of EB.

    So you have to ask, why is Sand’s book taken so seriously, by those who apparently know nothing of the subject?

    The usual haughty arrogance: ‘We know but the rest are ignoramuses’. Bweurk…

  54. Is that the same Gideon Levy who said Israel “needs to be raped”? Trust you to admire someone who says the Jewish state needs a good raping.

    How sick is that?

  55. It is interesting to note what a nerve the truth about the Nazis of Flanders has hit. Imagine that 10,000 times over, day and night, by people who want to see Flanders wiped off the map and all its inhabitants slaughtered – then come back and talk about thick skins.

    You don’t know anything.

  56. Adam:

    Please provide proof the Levy said anything about Israel “needs to be raped”.

    Never ever heard of anything like that.

  57. Adam:

    It looks like on the “rape Israel” quote you’ve simply got the wrong guy:

    From CAMERA:

    At a private meeting of some 20 journalists with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in September, 2007, Ha’aretz Editor David Landau urged the U.S. to “rape” Israel — to force a settlement on the country.

    It’s an unfortunate choice of words of course but even CAMERA states that by this proverbial ‘rape’ has to be understood the US forcing a settlement on Israel. Nothing else.

    This is what many have been saying (without using the words ‘rape Israel’) and it’s entirely logical: the US is the only superpower and Israel staunchest ally and greatest benefactor. It stands to reason that the US remains key to resolving the conflict.

    Those who oppose this want to have their cake and eat it too: “keep the money and other forms of support flowing but don’t criticise us!”

  58. Ooops: start again…

    Adam:

    It looks like on the “rape Israel” quote you’ve simply got the wrong guy:

    From CAMERA:

    At a private meeting of some 20 journalists with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in September, 2007, Ha’aretz Editor David Landau urged the U.S. to “rape” Israel — to force a settlement on the country.

    It’s an unfortunate choice of words of course but even CAMERA states that by this proverbial ‘rape’ has to be understood the US forcing a settlement on Israel. Nothing else.

    This is what many have been saying (without using the words ‘rape Israel’) and it’s entirely logical: the US is the only superpower and Israel staunchest ally and greatest benefactor. It stands to reason that the US remains key to resolving the conflict.

    Those who oppose this want to have their cake and eat it too: “keep the money and other forms of support flowing but don’t criticise us!”

  59. Gert, aren’t you disgusted by it? I see that you’re not – indeed, you try to excuse such hateful and despicable language with the usual – “he didn’t really mean it like that.”

    Landua is a piece of trash, and Levy, his lapdog. He works for Landau (without a peep of criticism) and supports his same self loathing views. It isn’t brave, it is contrary to a point of being a traitor to his people, who face an existential threat. He is scum.

    You have no idea what it is like to be singled out at the exclusion of all others, vilified, demonised with racist hatred. In fact, you just fan the flames.

    Is that what you want?

  60. Adam:

    “[…] who face an existential threat”

    Who faces an existential threat? Israel? With an estimated 4th best army in the world? With every military gadget, American or homegrown going? With an estimated 200 nukes, ready to deliver? Now equipped also with second strike capability (the Dolphins)?

    You don’t think you might be indulging in just a liiittle hyperbole?

  61. modernityblog

    Surely it’s obvious that Gert has zero empathy for Israelis?

    That’s why it is a waste of time to engage with him.

  62. Except that I probably know more Israelis than you do. For which I do have empathy.

    But I sure have seen you expressing empathy for one Israeli ‘offering’ to ‘meet me’ for ‘ice cream and iron bars’…

    And are you now distinguishing between Israelis and Jews? I thought hell would freeze over first…

  63. Gert

    Israel DOES face an existential threat. One Iranian nuclear bomb delivered with precision would kill most Israelis and that would be the end of Israel. Your words will not help at that stage.

    And I find it interesting that you say Israel’s army constitutes the line of defence for Israel, the guarantee of its continued existence – whilst at the same time you castigate Israel for having…a good and effective armed forces.

    You know nothing about what it is to be on the receiving end of a crusade of racism and delegitimization – you are indeed part of that crusade. You got very touchy with just an ounce of what the Jews face on a daily basis. Imagine that magnified 10000 times.

    You know nothing.

  64. Adam:

    Iran attacking Israel by whatever means would mean its sudden demise: nuclear suicide. I don’t like the Iranian regime much but to believe it is suicidal is folly.

    […] whilst at the same time you castigate Israel for having…a good and effective armed forces.

    And where did I do that, chump? I’ve often criticised Israel for its use of overwhelming force and for its military occupation but I don’t recall criticising it for having a powerful army per se.

  65. Daniel Marks

    “Except that I probably know more Israelis than you do. For which I do have empathy.” – Gert (one e)

    Might that be another clumsily worded variation of the age old anti-Semite’s cliche, “Some of my best friends are Jewish”? By the way, how the Dickens would you know how many Israeli friends Adam has?

    On the subject of friends, and on a friendlier note, your not criticizing us for having a “powerful army per se” has been duly noted, Barak and Ashkenazi are a little busy but told me to say, “Cheers mate!” and we shall, indeed, be moving in that direction quite soon.

    Keep in touch,

    Daniel

  66. Daniel:

    By the way, how the Dickens would you know how many Israeli friends Adam has?

    I was addressing Modernity blog (and not Adam), I think that was very clear…

  67. modernityblog

    If you read Gert’s comments for any duration you will see how he often echoes sentiments found on the extreme right.

    A few threads back he was talking about “Jewish supremacy”….

    And now he employs the “some of my best friend’s….” gambit.

    Sometime back I had a poster on my blog (a well-known Holocaust denier from America) and in his opening paragraph was a comment to the effect “my accountant is Jewish…” etc etc

    Same old nonsense, same old prejudices.

  68. Daniel Marks

    My apologies Gert (one e),

    I’ll rephrase:

    By the way, how the Dickens would you know how many Israeli friends Modernity blog has?

  69. Modders:

    A few threads back he was talking about “Jewish supremacy”….

    I’ve often described your tactics as those used by Far Right smear types and you’re showing them off again.

    I said that Jewish supremacists exist, much like White supremacists or Black supremacists they tend to be a tiny minority, but they exist nonetheless.

    I meet those types regularly, currently there’s one in operation over at Hasbara Buster.

    What do you call settlers that harass (and worse besides that) completely innocent Palestinians, set fire to their orchards, pelt them with garbage and teach their kids to do the same? These are plain old racists with a supremacist streak.

    In one of Max Blumenthal’s video you hear an Orthodox kid (about 12, I’d say) claiming they (the Jews) treat the land much better than the Palestinians do. About 12!

    Your inability to accept that such people exist shows you’re simply not evidence based but more like a politer and more polished version of Geert ‘I’m in love with Israel’ Wilders…

  70. Daniel:

    By the way, how the Dickens would you know how many Israeli friends Modernity blog has?

    I don’t but I can make a reasonable assumption.

  71. Daniel Marks

    “I don’t but I can make a reasonable assumption.” –

    It seems like a mute point, but actually I’m quite interested in how the mind of an anti-Zionist works.

    You admit that you have no information whatsoever regarding the number of Israeli friends that Modernity blog has, but, that fact notwithstanding, you consider it reasonable to assume that he has less Israeli friends than you.

    Would it be fair to say that in a similar way you arrive at most of your assumptions and does this interesting research methodology go some way to explaining some of the rather radical conclusions that you’ve reached?

  72. Gert, no. It is folly to believe that Iran won’t use the bomb. You need to learn about the 12th imam.

    What should Israel base its survival on – your word? You know what the Iranian regime thinks?

    You can explain how you misread Ahmadinejad after the next Holocaust (G-d forbid). “I really thought he didn’t really mean it…”

  73. Gert, you change your spots…I don’t think you’re sincere. I think you want Israel gone, hence your “anti-Zionism”. You’re not honest.

  74. modernityblog

    Adam,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head.

  75. Daniel Marks

    “In one of Max Blumenthal’s video you hear an Orthodox kid (about 12, I’d say) claiming they (the Jews) treat the land much better than the Palestinians do. About 12!” – Gert (one e)

    A pretty damning condemnation of more than half a million people (350,000 Israelis living in the West Bank, and around 210,000 living in East Jerusalem). Among us there is a certain 12-year-old who told Blumenthal that the Jews treat the land much better than the Palestinians do.

    You guys have your Marc Dutrouxes who abducts, rapes and murders. I would never draw any conclusions from that, or assume that Marc in any way represents the majority of decent Belgians.

    However, Gert (small e) heard a 12 who said that in his opinion Jews) treat the land much better than the Palestinians do and from that reaches all kinds of silly conclusions. That is why I asked him earlier about his thought process.

    By the way, I personally have no opinion regarding who “treats the land better”, my Palestinian gardener Magdi treats our garden pretty well, but is the belief that some people treat the land better than others so illegitimate?

    If a French farmer’s 12-year-old son were to say that Frenchman treat the land better than Italians would that be a reason to disown him from his farm and question the legitimacy of the existence of France as a sovereign state?

    Finally, I have four settler children and have taught many hundreds.

    I wish Gert well and that, if he has children, I bless him that his should be like ours. If the ignorant “assumptions” and conclusions that he makes on this blog are any indication of the education he gives his offspring, I suspect that they may not be.

  76. Daniel:

    You are deliberately creating a huge straw man to further feed your mental image of me.

    This is what Modders wanted to achieve. See how easy it is to pull something out of context and get results? Next he’ll tell you I’ve fathered a child with a Muslim woman and you’ll believe it too…

    I draw no conclusions regarding the various Jewish/Zionist supremacists I’ve encountered other than that they exist.

    The comment I made to which Modders refers was made in reference to a comment by Jonathan Hoffman. He was right on that occasion but I simply wondered if he was aware that there are some in the settler/Zionist milieu who seem to take ‘the Chosen People’ rather literally and personally. A valid question.

    As regards Modders’ latest contention, I’m seriously surprised that a grown man, clearly not unintelligent, wants to play Internet mind games. It’s very childish and I note that he doesn’t seem to behave like that in other areas of blogging.

    As regards my alleged ‘Jew hatred’, there isn’t a country in the world that tries to deflect criticism with allegations of racism like Israel does. I’ve criticised to hell and back the governments of the UK and the US, as well as other governments, never to have been called ‘anti-British’, ‘anti-American’ or analogous. Not once.

    Yet when it comes to Israel that reaction is reflexive, so much so that a fellow blogger (David Zarnett – a Canadian Zionist) told me years ago that the term antisemitism has now lost all meaning due to overuse.

    Once that allegation may still have held some deterrent power, today people no longer care. Call me what you want, I won’t shut up.

    And I would thank you to keep my daughter out of this: talk about making assumptions and a completely gratuitous shot!

  77. Adam:

    Well, bombs away it is then! Perhaps ‘Hussein’ Obama will be a one term president and Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee could win 2012, in which case the Israel Lobby won’t have much trouble to lobby the president into bombing Iran…

  78. Daniel Marks

    Gert,

    I would never ask you to shut up and have never done so. Firstly, I sincerely believe in freedom of speech and more importantly every time you open your mouth you put your foot in it.

    I’ve been arguing with Jew-haters since I was a child and the first rule always is to let them talk. They can cover up their bigotry and ignorance for only so long, but the cover is wafer thin. Scratch them and there’s just another fanatical monster in hiding.

    Let’s look at your two newest last idiotic utterances:

    1. You have more Israeli friends Modernity blog has?

    2. You know that settlers harass completely innocent Palestinians, set fire to their orchards, pelt them with garbage and teach their kids to do the same because you saw a video with a 12-year-old who said that Jews treat the land much better than the Palestinians do.

    The first one you now seem to accept was absurd. So apologize to him, say you were trying to be clever/cute and move on.

    The second one you try to cover up by pretending I’ve offended your daughter. My words were:

    “I wish Gert well and that, if he has children, I bless him that his should be like ours. If the ignorant “assumptions” and conclusions that he makes on this blog are any indication of the education he gives his offspring, I suspect that they may not be.”

    – Certainly the nicest thing anyone has said to you on this blog yet.

    Your point about Jews taking those who criticize Israel more seriously, even personally, than say a US citizen takes your criticism is actually quite interesting and worthy of a longer explanation than I have time for two hours before shabbat. Briefly I’ll give you food for thought that we can discuss later.

    1. There is no other country, that I know of, that has many other countries that openly acknowledge their wish to destroy. Many of these countries are nearby and have tried before.

    2. There is no other nation, I know of, that had one third of its children annihilated even though they had done nothing wrong, were fighting no war, and were wholly innocent.

    3. Thee is no other state, that I know of, that six decades after its establishment has supposedly civilized critics who think it should not exist.

    I sincerely believe you to be an anti-Semite. You may be a nice guy (I say may) and you probably, sincerely do not think that you are.

    Anti-Semitism is deadly disease that harms Jews and Christian society too. Hitler killed 6,000,000 of us but in his “war against the Jews” about ten times that number were killed altogether.

    Anti-Semitism is a deadly disease that mutates and reemerges each generation with a new name and a new excuse. Sometimes because the Jews are too rich, sometimes they’re too poor. Sometimes because we want to live among the nations, sometimes because we wish to live by ourselves. Sometimes because we refuse to convert sometimes because we won’t assimilate. Nazism was very different to classical Jew hatred in that it no longer demanded that the Jew convert or assimilate, but punished him for assimilating too much. The Jew was suddenly forced to wear a star of David, he was not allowed to intermarry and the converts were persecuted too.

    The 21 century mutation is called anti-Zionism. The moderate “anti-Zionist” demands that we make a “peace deal” that will weaken us enough to give our enemies a fighting chance, the extremists think we should go “back to Poland and Germany”. We all remember the Jewish experience in these two countries.

    Yes, Greg. You may be a nice guy (maybe) but you’re a primitive anti-Semite all the same. If that is what you are teaching your daughter, then from the depth of my heart I wish her lots of luck in the future. With an education like that, she’ll need it.

  79. I’m glad you can be flippant about the fate of the Jews Gert. Tell me, in your view, what would be worse – a strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, or nuclear bombs landing on Israel? Can you guarantee that Iran will not nuke Israel? If not, then how can you be so flippant and generous with other people’s lives, and a potential genocide? Answer – because you don’t really care. Your hatred of Israel is such that you would probably be quite glad.

    A for your comment about Jewish “supremacists”, I have a little secret for you. There have also been Jewish thieves, rapists, murderers. Following your (lack of) logic, the Jews must be thieves, rapists and murderers. Only the true antisemite looks for one example to tarnish an entire people. You have done so here. So yes, I question your motives.

  80. Daniel Marks

    BABYSITTER WANTED

    Hi All,

    It’s shabbat here in Israel very soon and I have to go.

    Could somebody take care of Gert (one e) until Saturday night. He’s basically quite an easy job and doesn’t require too much attention.

    If he cries it’s either because he’s hungry, needs burping or changing. I’ve taken care of him so he should be quite for at least a couple of hours.

    Daniel

    I’ll f you

  81. Daniel:

    Apologise to Modders??? What for? I’ve done nothing wrong.

    And yes, you are trying to offend me and my daughter (you’ve had a second go, while denying the first and you can’t even see that!) because you take everything personal and are a real ‘tit-for-tat’ kind of guy. You go as far as trying to make fun of my name – how sad is that really, especially where you claimed Geert Wilders ‘is the good Ge(e)rt’. It’s what school kids do behind the bike shed: laugh at their own inane arguments. You pretend very much to be Holier than Thou but you aren’t.

    As regards your spiel about antisemitism, it’s Classic Hasbara 101: the belief with accompanying propaganda that antisemitism is a Special Racism, Omnipresent, constantly mutating and practically innate to Gentiles (of whatever stripe or denomination), the latter in itself being a deeply racist notion.

    You refuse to separate Zionism, Judaism and Israel. Since there are many Jews that manage to do that just fine, these then, awkwardly to say the least, have to be branded ‘self-hating Jews’, as if someone’s ethnicity changes because you disagree with them.

    Regards the ‘maligning of Israel’ that you and Adam so insist upon, believe me that the Arabs feel very much the same. But as the ‘children of a lesser G-d’ that they ‘are’ that clearly won’t concern you in the slightest.

    Your entire position is that Israel is legitimate because G-d told you so. Unfortunately many (including many Jews) don’t believe in G-d (at least not in a theistic version). Perhaps you can consider those as inferior too, to try and simplistically dismiss their arguments too?

    As regards ‘making a peace deal’, well don’t then. Turn your country into an impenetrable fortress and live in constant fear (whipped up in large dollops by opportunistic hyper nationalistic Israeli politicians). You’ll feel completely isolated as a country but at least you’ll be able to feel ‘Righteous’. People of your political/religio-Nationalist persuasion are what make my progressive Zionist friends despair and unreservedly agree with me. So many thanks for that.

    This is probably the last time I’ve addressed you, you’ve really wasted enough of my time.

  82. Adam:

    what would be worse – a strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, or nuclear bombs landing on Israel?

    As deep down you know very well, both are extremely unlikely to happen.

    Again though, do it: bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities and see what a witches brew you will unleash.

    Even Barak has said twice he’s not afraid of a nuclear Iran: there’s such thing as mutually assured destruction deterrence.

    Following your (lack of) logic, the Jews must be thieves, rapists and murderers.

    Adam, please show me where I’ve done anything of the sort. I haven’t. Supremacist types are quite rare in any social group. They exist also in small amounts among Zionists. Period.

  83. Gert There are also black supremacists. What is your point? Yours is a classic attempt to tarnish an entire people, and all Zionists, with “proof” of one example. It proves nothing, save your own prejudices.

    Your general comments about antisemitism are nothing short of extremely offensive. Hasbara 101? Oh yes, the Jews use it as a get out of jail card – in fact, merely pointing out antisemitism makes you a racist. Let’s see, they “use” the Holocaust as well no doubt in order to further their ends – those deceitful cunning Jews.

    What utter garbage. You blow hot, then you blow cold. You are the shifting sands. I don’t trust you an inch.

    And Gert, I’m not Jewish.

  84. Yes Gert, a raid on Iran’s nuclear weapons programme will unleash thousands of rockets from Hizbollah and Hamas, and attacks against Jews around the world, with emergency sessions at the Un condemning the Jews and the mainstream media telling us all how it’s all Israel’s fault.

    All preferable to a nuclear bomb landing on Israel and a second Holocaust. That is the choice the Jews have, stand up and get condemned or lie down and die. It is clear which you would prefer.

  85. Adam:

    Gert There are also black supremacists.

    Which part of :my comment didn’t you understand? This is what I wrote:

    I said that Jewish supremacists exist, much like White supremacists or Black supremacists they tend to be a tiny minority, but they exist nonetheless.

    And Gert, I’m not Jewish.

    So what? You’re probably a Meircan Idiot.

    ‘Nuff time wasted on you too.

    Bye bye, Adam…

  86. Gert, you should be ashamed.

  87. Then why raise it Gert? What a slippery eel you are.

  88. Adam:

    Then why raise it Gert? What a slippery eel you are.

    You got shit for brains or something? I raised it in response to another commenter who (rightly) complained about the wrong use of the term ‘Chosen People’… As very clearly indicated above.

    Now kindly crawl back into your sewer and close the lid behind you.

  89. I thought you’d gone Gert, with your usual dramatic flourish.

    Always funny how Gert starts swearing when cornered. Such a refined mind. What has the term “chosen people” got to do with saying Jews have racists amongst them? Your explanation makes no sense, and you know it.

    You look for every flaw amongst Jews, then try to create some wider point from it. That is racism Gert. Your attempt to say that Jews themselves are racist against gentiles because they may dare to point out that there are such people as antisemites, is a classic example of Jew hatred.

    You have spent the whole of this particular thread dancing around definitions of Jews, indulging in the worst generalisations and negative portrayals of Jews themselves whilst demonsing Israel without being honest and saying what you really think.

  90. Gert smugly complains about name calling (being the sensitive soul that he is), calling it juvenile, then indulges in a spot of it himself.

    Not quite as mature as you think you are gert?

  91. Adam:

    Blimey, you still here?

    What has the term “chosen people” got to do with saying Jews have racists amongst them?

    Listen chump, I suggest you go back a few threads and find the comment and the context in which it was made. Jewish racists exist, like in most groups they are quite rare. That doesn’t mean they can’t be mentioned without being racist about it. It’s really not hard to understand. If I mentioned black supremacists would that mean I’m implying all, most or even many black people are black supremacists? No. Now try the same logic on my comment after you’ve found it, there’s a good boy…

    I’m not sure why you seem to think the opinion of an airhead like you would matter to me but I’ve gone to the trouble of answering most of your questions.

  92. Well Gert, it clearly does matter, for you keep returning to try to get the last say, even after you have dramatically announced your departure (as you have done before when someone gets on your case). Seems I’ve hit a nerve. Good.

    Still in with the name calling? I thought you were more mature than us mere mortals. At least you’ve kept your obscenities in check.

    Of course Jewish racists exist. So do Flemish racists. You were transparently trying to cast aspersions on Israel and the Jews by so helpfully pointing it out. Throughout this whole thread, which has nothing to do with your obsessive hatred of Israel, you have verbally pranced around your fantasies about Jews. You explicitly stated that

    “…the belief with accompanying propaganda that antisemitism is a Special Racism, Omnipresent, constantly mutating and practically innate to Gentiles (of whatever stripe or denomination), the latter in itself being a deeply racist notion.”

    That is antisemitic garbage Gert, the not so subtle implication that Jews use antisemitism for their own ends, and are indeed racist themselves for exposing instances of it.

    Pathetic.

  93. Furthermore, your quote claims that Jews think themselves special, that they are insensitive to racism which affects others. Ths in itself is a racist argument. Given the high proprtion of Jews who campaigned both in the US civil rights movement (way out of their numbers) and in apartheid South Africa, such a claim is quickly exposed as rubbish.

    You need a good long look at yourself, and your motives.

  94. Adam:

    Firstly, my criticism is of Zionism, not Jews or Judaism. The two aren’t the same at all. Many Jews are Zionist, many are anti-Zionist. Most Zionists though aren’t Jewish: Israel supporters world wide outnumber Jews (Zio, non-Zio or anti-Zio) by a ratio of at least 10 to 1.

    Furthermore, your quote claims that Jews think themselves special, that they are insensitive to racism which affects others.

    .

    While antisemitism very clearly exists, many Zionists (like you) have abused the term by overuse, mainly for political gain. It is, just to give one notable example, not that long ago that in the US claiming there is such a thing as a Zionist Lobby (aka Israel Lobby) would almost refexively land you the epithet ‘antisemite’. Today the Lobby no longer loudly proclaims its self-alleged ‘non-existence’ and the term has become part of American journalistic lexicon without repercussions for those who use it.

    Zionist Jews also apply the method (to try and silence opponents, or stifle or disrupt debate – precisely the way Modders did here by bringing up the Jewish supremacist, merely to try and disrupt) also very generously by calling their more critical brethren ‘self-loathing Jews’, ‘self-hating Jews’ or ‘antisemitic Jews’.

    Part of this method employed by Zionists (but not all of course) is to award antisemitism special status, with special characteristics. But antisemitism can easily be proven to be plain racism that really doesn’t structurally differ from other forms of racism.

    You should think about this: if I claimed rightly that many BNPers are White supremacists, would they have the right to call me ‘anti-White’ or ‘anti-British’ because most of them are white and British?

  95. Gert, firstly, I don’t know where you get your statistics. They would seem impossible to measure. Would you like to give a source?

    Secondly, there aren’t many Jews worldwide, it is a tiny population. So having more supporters who aren’t Jews – well, proves very little. Indeed, was there a point in there somewhere?

    You then talk again about the term antisemitism being overused. Where is it overused Gert? Who has overused it? I don’t mean some crank somewhere – I mean Jewish communal bodies, Zionist organizations, who and where?

    You are of course desperate to separate Jews from Zionists. Most Jews are Zionists, far more than are not. This of course avoids addressing your above quotation, which was not about Zionists, but about Jews. Your mask slipped Gert.

    And an interesting use of the term “Zionist lobby” – because most of the time, the term used is “Jewish lobby” as you well know. And even the exclusive interest in the Zionist lobby is itself extremely suspect – how often do you hear about the Arab lobby, or the Saudi lobby? Do you think they don’t have lobbies? Are they strapped for cash? Yet one never hears about them. Why would that be Gert? You need to start asking yourself questions.

    Indeed, you accuse Zionists of using the antisemitism card (without reference of course), for political ends, but in so doing you expose your own political ends, in an attempt to stop the exposure of the antisemitic element of the Israel bashing lobby. It does exist Gert, and it is strong. I believe it to be the primary force behind the surreal, hypocritical and obsessive interest taken in Israel, for some to the exclusion of all else in the world.

    For you, it seems there are no antisemites, only anti-Zionists – which is of course racism in itself. If I said to you, “I have nothing against black people, I just don’t think they are entitled to self-determination” , the first part of the sentence would be exposed for the lie it is.

    What “special characteristics” are you talking about?

    We’re not talking critics of Israeli policy in your parlance, but “anti-Zionists”. It is a code word for Jew hating. And as is always the case with Jew hating, it is an obsession of those who practise it.

  96. Daniel Marks

    “As regards your spiel about antisemitism, it’s Classic Hasbara 101: the belief with accompanying propaganda that antisemitism is a Special Racism, Omnipresent, constantly mutating and practically innate to Gentiles (of whatever stripe or denomination), the latter in itself being a deeply racist notion.” – Classic Gert (2010)

    I wonder if Gert knows what “hasbara” means. He often dismisses views that he is incapable of logically disproving by classifying them as hasbara. If it’s hasbara, why even bother arguing with it?

    I wonder if he knows what hasbara means. It comes from the Hebrew root “lehasbir” to explain, so hasbara means the process of explaining or explanation. There is nothing unworthy or shameful about explaining. As a teacher and lecturer I spend much of my life explaining things and I hope that I sometimes even succeed. Hasbara or explaining Israel’s position, or what I believe Israel’s position should be, has long been a hobby of mine. I was debating Palestinians, Arabs and anti-Semites when I was very young. When debating Arabs I was aware that my goal was not to change their minds, but to try and persuade objective onlookers. As individuals I often enjoyed their company and rarely saw them as Jew haters in the Gertish sense of the word (phrase).

    The anti-Semites were always a different kettle of fish. They were often far more ignorant and had little to no firsthand knowledge of the subject :

    “..set fire to their orchards, pelt them with garbage and teach their kids to do..”

    Please God one day we’ll make peace with our Arab neighbors and at that time the Gerts of this world will have to move on and to find a new justification for their hatred. Maybe they’ll go back to us poisoning their wells or defiling their Aryan blood. Maybe we’ll be usurers again, maybe we’ll be killing Christian babies to make our matzot and wine. They’ll always find an excuse, from the middle ages until about 1933 for not converting to Christianity, from about 1933 until 1945 we were killed for being Jews, 1945-48 for being terrorists (Lechi, Irgun etc) and from 1948 to the present day for being Zionists. By the time peace comes the Gerts will have a new excuse.

    The last sentence Gert accredited me with saying is of course a lie. It’s not all gentiles, not all Christians not all anything, just all anti-Semites. I guess Gert’d feel more comfortable if he could persuade himself that everybody has the same disgusting condition that he has. after all we can’t all be wrong. The truth, however, is far from that as there are hundreds of millions, billions of decent hard-working non-Jews with whom I have no quarrel. There are even a few among them who I call my friends.

    That is the final paradox. As I’ve already indicated I do not dislike Gert. There are actually two Gerts, the not unintelligent, polite, cultured Gert and then there’s the foaming at the mouth, generalizing, ranting Gert.

    Strangely, I prefer the second as our Gert is far more honest when he’s out of control.

    Either way, I may be in the UK over the summer, have been commissioned to write a reader on British culture for Spanish students, and I’d be happy to buy the more honest Gert an honest pint (if they still exist). If the other Gert turns up instead, he can pay for the beers.

  97. Adam:

    I won’t respond point by point, that would be too time consuming and lead to a ‘blow by blow’ attack-counter-attack debate for which today I haven’t the time.

    But I’m going back to your argument that I can’t criticise Zionist or Jewish racists because racists exist in all social groups. That that is a form of racism in itself because of the ‘singling out’. Surely then these other groups can invoke the same privilege of not having their racists criticised? This is a recipe for simply shutting down all debate on any form or racism, on the feeble grounds of ‘They do it too!’

    Well, the ‘They do it too!’ argument is really the lynchpin of Israel, Zionists and their supporters claim that criticism of Zionism must be anti-Semitic because it ‘singles out’ Israel for special treatment. Going by this logic I couldn’t even criticise a single murderer, after all there are many murderers, no? In essence it means that if I report on a sandstorm in Israel, I would be obliged also to report on a blizzard in Finland…

    As regards:

    For you, it seems there are no antisemites, only anti-Zionists – which is of course racism in itself. If I said to you, “I have nothing against black people, I just don’t think they are entitled to self-determination” , the first part of the sentence would be exposed for the lie it is.

    … it is a typical Adam straw man.

    Firstly there is no real ‘right to self-determination’. Like many other nations Israel has seized an opportunity to create a state. It’s legitimacy derives entirely from its existence, nothing else.

    What’s far more insulting in your straw man is the claim ‘For you, it seems there are no antisemites, only anti-Zionists’ which I never made and don’t believe either. Not only does antisemitism exist but you’ll find some of it in anti-Zionist circles.

    What I object to is the reflexive blanket condemnation of criticism of Israel as antisemitism, typically by Israel’s most vociferous supporters. This is something many, including scholars, have spent a lot of time explaining so please don’t pretend your nose is bleeding. If you really need information about the use of the term antisemitism for political ends, Norman Finkelstein would be a good place to start.

    Criticism of Israel/Zionism can be antisemitic but the anti-Zionist movement tries it hardest and darnest to keep itself clean.

  98. Daniel:

    There was no need for your condescending le mot juste spiel regarding Hasbara. I’m well aware of what it means, including etymology. In today’s ‘explanation’, blanket condemnation of criticism of Israel is very much part of the armoury.

    The Hasbarists have become very good in creating false analogies (smears, in essence) between certain criticisms of Israel and Zionism and past antisemitic themes/memes.
    Just one simple yet classic example. Geoffrey Alderman tells us that the belief that large numbers of Palestinians were expelled during Israel’s war of independence constitutes a ‘blood libel against the Jewish people’ (this claim is absurd on many levels of course, but that’s not my point). As this is a staple part of anti-Zionist views, most of the anti-Zionist movement has thus been relegated to antisemites in one fell swoop.

    That is the final paradox. As I’ve already indicated I do not dislike Gert. There are actually two Gerts, the not unintelligent, polite, cultured Gert and then there’s the foaming at the mouth, generalizing, ranting Gert.

    No, but the ultimate paradox here is dual:

    a. that the cultured Daniel Marks shows himself to be every bit of a fantasist when the mood takes him. Not only am I an antisemite but also ‘foaming at the mouth’ and ‘ranting’. Baloney.
    b. that not since my long gone days as a commenter at ‘Harry’s Place’ have I ‘suffered’ (those who try the most outrageous types of insults don’t seem to realise just how comical they come across) such abuse as here. An absolute first (no kidding) is having been repeatedly threatened with physical violence by a commenter who claims to know where I live.

    Commenters like Daniel ‘rational’ Marks and others would be completely up in arms when a British Jew would be harassed/assaulted/abused in person by an over-zealous antisemite and rightly so (we know sadly that since Cast Lead a number of such incidents have taken place). Yet when one of their brethren threatens to do the same to someone ‘on the other side’ on a thread which they take part in, its radio silence all the way…

  99. Daniel Marks

    I googled Geoffrey Alderman to find out who he is. I have read none of his books and cannot express an opinion. Nor do I feel an obligation to explain to Gert every viewpoint that he doesn’t agree with.

    Regarding the creation and perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee crises, I’ve addressed the issue more than once and have had no indication that Gert disagrees with my layman’s historical opinion regarding this subject.

    Foaming at the mouth is what we call an idiom which means to get very angry.

    http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/foam+at+the+mouth

    I hardly think that this excellent blog is an appropriate forum to explain the place and usage of idioms in English, but I’m sure they exist in his native tongue too.

    Finally, I’m sorry to hear that Gert shitting bricks (coarse idiom for scared) because of Mike’s ice cream. Have we reached the end of days when some people live in physical fear of Jewish lawyers?

    Don’t worry Gert my friend. I’ve got your back (idiom for taking care of someone).

  100. Examples Gert? You keep claiming something without reference or sources. I think the accusation that antisemitism is used by supporters of Israel is itself an attempt to close debate, and expose antisemitism amongst the anti-Zionists.

    If you want examples of so-called anti-Zionists being racist antisemites, you don’t have to look very far.

  101. Adam:

    Examples Gert? You keep claiming something without reference or sources. I think the accusation that antisemitism is used by supporters of Israel is itself an attempt to close debate, and expose antisemitism amongst the anti-Zionists.

    Listen schlump, you’ve been claiming the Earth here without the slightest example, link or reference for quite a while now. Typical of those with very little to say is that they want to try and turn the table, see your second sentence.

    So for once in your life, get of your lazy backside and do a few searches: it’s called ‘googling’. At least if you find the evidence yourself you might be inclined to read it, whereas a long list provided by me would only be dismissed as the ‘antisemitic rantings of a so-called anti-Zionist’.

    You don’t seriously think that convincing a flyweight like you is part of my ambitions in life, do you?

  102. Nice one Gert – back to the name calling. I thought you were oh so mature. Turns out you’re not, and when cornered, you disappear. I know that when you resort to that, you have nothing left.

    You also have the charming quality of having a big opinion of yourself.

    You have no examples, and there aren’t any. I’ve googled and more, because this accusation gets made time and time again by the Israel haters.

    It is baseless, rather like your entire thesis.

    And anti-Zionism IS antisemitism. You have completely failed to grasp this. Denying Jews the right to self-determination IS antisemitism.

  103. Michael Goldman

    Gert:
    “You don’t seriously think that convincing a flyweight like you is part of my ambitions in life, do you?”
    Just what are your ambitions in life?
    You have a blog that nobody reads (even Mrs Gert) so you waste your time writing long and laborious postings on somebody else’s blog.
    Is this your way of changing the world?

  104. Daniel Marks

    “You have a blog that nobody reads..”

    Not true. Gert usually doesn’t actually write much on his blog, but he cuts and pastes other peoples stuff.

    I read Gert’s blog quite often and so does another bloke called Greg Potemkin.

  105. modernityblog

    Just got back and I’m reading this exchange.

    I should add I know nothing of Gert, and quite frankly that’s the way I would like it to stay.

    Anyone on the Internet can view his posts and make up their own mind about his views and thinking.

    I know I have, so I tend to ignore him, that’s the level of attention he deserves,IMHO.

  106. Daniel Marks

    “I know I have, so I tend to ignore him, that’s the level of attention he deserves,IMHO.”- modernityblog

    Well, I quite like Gert. His knowledge of ME Geography and Jewish history are not up to much, by our standards, but for a goy he knows more than most. Moreover, how much do any of us know about Belgian history?

    He usually listens to what you have to say, though he may claim that you’re patronizing him, and points he can’t answer he’ll either ignore or label as “hasbara”. Hasbara you don’t have to answer, you see.

    Gert has recently adopted a new pseudo-theological approach that goes something like:

    “You believe in God, hence your views. Therefore, if there is no God, everything you say is wrong. I don’t think there’s a God.”

    Nobody is going to turn Gert into a Zionist and I’m not sure I would if I could. I like Gert just the way he is.

  107. Adam:

    Perhaps you can come back when you’ve actually read something about I/P? Right now you come across as a little twerp who’s facing the opposition’s arguments for the very first time.

    Your actual views on I/P remain well hidden apart from your ‘anti-Zionism = antisemitism’, which you share with Modders, But pssst, I’ll let you into a little secret, he’s actually a lot cleverer than you. And very good at plausible smearing too! Not you though…

    Michael:

    Having little to say, you decide to say something about something you know nothing about. You know zilch about my traffic, its quantity, where it’s coming from and what posts get the most attention. Nothing. Shows just how evidence based you are. You’re just another Ziotroll. And a mediocre one at that.

    Daniel:

    Gert has recently adopted a new pseudo-theological approach that goes something like:
    “You believe in God, hence your views. Therefore, if there is no God, everything you say is wrong. I don’t think there’s a God.”

    Again you disappoint strongly. Nowhere have I remotely made such a point. You’re the one who puts forward a thesis regarding how I/P is a ‘religious war’. I’ve not commented on that, even though I plan (with your knowledge) to post your personal political manifesto on my blog, again with very little comment from me. A very ungentlemanly straw man, I feel.
    And to Modders I can only say this:
    Your smearing tactics get ever enhanced, I guess there’s a learning curve for everything. Your latest trolling attempt, the one where you brought up Jewish supremacism, had little Adam all in a tizzy, because he didn’t even understand your argument. He managed nonetheless to try and follow your lead and cause some disruption…
    On I/P I have difficulty imagining how you sleep at night. With such fervent philosemitism from your side and Israel now really exposed as the emperor without clothes or the band that plays on while the ship is sinking, this must worry you just a tad, along with ‘football’ hooligan and ‘zeleb’ chronicler Chas ‘Newkey Brown’ [cough!], not to mention Jewly Burchill. Last but not least Michael ‘I need a special school for my special brood’ Gove.
    For one Israel will now sooner or later be forced to make these, erm… ‘painful concessions’ (and become much better off for it, just a flotilla of flotillas might achieve this shortly) but all this exposing of ‘antisemites’ will also expose you for what you are: either a fraud or an incompetent. Surely even you understand that not even the joined forces of John Bolton, Fiamma Nirenstein, Mad Mel, Bat Yeor, Pamela Geller Oshry, Danny Ayalon and even Herr Lieberman can save Israel’s current regime? I’m terribly afraid that the ‘antisemitic’ forces are winning, you see old boy. When Ha’aretz appeals to embrace BDS to save Israel from herself you kind of know what time it is…

  108. Daniel Marks

    What a bummer! I keep disappointing Gert.

    Looking forward to reading his posting about me. I had planned to ask for royalties of a Dollar a hit and use the money to buy an apartment in the Eshkol Heights, but apparently they’re only meant for ultra-orthodox foreign residents – bloody racists!

    If anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about, that’s because you haven’t visited Gert’s devastatingly popular blog recently.

    Pop in and you’ll meet the evergreen Greg Potemkin, who in the area of ME studies and International Law makes Gert look like a bloomin’ genius.

    I thought I was ignorant, but this is ridiculous!

  109. “Moreover, how much do any of us know about Belgian history?”

    Daniel,

    Fair points.

    I think it is just a personal preference, giving weirdos like Gert the idea that their views have ANY form of validity is counter-productive, IMO

    I think they should be shunned, ignored and told in very clear terms that their obnoxious views are beyond the pale of civilised discussion.

    However, I accept your counter arguments and they are good, in this instance the amusement of pointing out Gert’s shallow thinking (taking the word of a 12 year old, continually painting Israelis in the worst possible light, etc )

    The thing is, when you run a blog you have to decide what you think is or isn’t acceptable.

    If I engaged every neo-Nazi, Holocaust denier, Jew hater, Jew baiter, etc that posted on my blog and treated their views as containing any element of validity, then I’d never get anything done.

    I have a moderation queue stuffed to the gills with such filth and in my experience trying to point out their errors and fallacious thinking is a kin to teaching an elephant how to tie his/her shoe laces.

    I can see the novelty and occasional benefit of prodding these people with a virtual stick (as above, in drawing out Gert’s racist thinking), but it’s not to my taste, and it takes forever.

    Still, I suppose there is some entertainment value in watching Gert twisting himself into knots and exposing the racism that underpins his thinking.

  110. Modders:

    The thing is, when you run a blog you have to decide what you think is or isn’t acceptable.

    If I engaged every neo-Nazi, Holocaust denier, Jew hater, Jew baiter, etc that posted on my blog and treated their views as containing any element of validity, then I’d never get anything done.

    Yes, and what is ‘not acceptable’ to you, you brand as ‘Fascist’ in order to feel justified in banning it. However, when the right to free speech of one of your comrades is jeopardised, you scream blue murder. You consider this a principled [cough, cough!] position.

    As regards your second point, I’d really like to see how any neo-Nazi or Holocaust deniers actually (that is: in REALITY) visit your blog and/or comment on it: even with the most elastic definition possible it can’t really be that many, so stop being a martyr for your increasingly lost cause and your insatiable appetite for approval by Zionists.

    Whatever you think about the “neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, Jew haters, Jew baiters”, the veritable explosion of their numbers you’ve seen in the most recent months has already had some positive effect on the siege of Gaza. This is an absolute first: ‘racists’ achieving something positive! Way to go!

    On I/P your world resembles that of Mad Mel: completely upside down…

  111. modernityblog

    Just to clarify for the dimwitted:

    1) I don’t classify people that I profoundly disagree with as “fascist”, otherwise I would never exchange views with Tories, and I can’t stand the Tories, or the Lib Dems!

    2) There are many grades of haters, from hard core neo-Nazis, their fellow travellers to the lower end of the scale, the occasional Jew baiters. They are not all “Fascists”, although many of their ideas probably originate from that sector.

    Again, there are various shades of haters, not all of them consciously “fascists”.

    3) As I said I have 72 comments in my moderation queue, many of them from active neo-Nazis, some from neofascists and others from odds and sods Jew haters.

    And that is where they’re going to stay in the moderation queue, but for the quizzical, this is an example of the level of discussion that is found amongst these cranks.

    Taken from a post I did on Franco:

    http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/franco-and-the-nazis/

    [This comment is just one of many, on a similar theme]

    “the old fascist bastard was a better man then the jewish nun murdering communists

    Fuck off!”

    But such is the poor reasoning ability of these cranks that I have had to remind them several times, what I will and what I will not stand for on my blog

    http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/read-the-comments-policy/

    My view is, you can’t get thru to them so why bother?

  112. Michael Goldman

    Gert I appologise.
    Dan and your fine self have put me in my place.
    I now realise that there are in fact two people who read your blog.
    Me and you Gert.We’re not so different after all.
    We both have little respect for facts.
    The main difference is that I at least keep my postings short whereas you make yours long enough and boring enough to be unreadable.

  113. Daniel Marks

    While there is much truth in Goldman’s comment (above) I would challenge his final line namely:

    “The main difference is that I at least keep my postings short whereas you make yours long enough and boring enough to be unreadable.”

    In Gert’s defense I would point out that he’s written some short yet extremely tedious postings too. An excellent example might be that posted on this page on June 28, 2010 at 10:46 am.

    Gert is a man of all seasons and while Antisemitism is his basic theme, his pieces are both long and short, repetitious, spiritless, stale, stereotyped, stodgy, stuffy, tiresome, trite, uninteresting and wearisome.

    It is for these and many other reasons that Greg Potemkin and I are devoted to him.

  114. Gert, unable to produce a single instance to corroborate the cental claim of your thesis, you are reduced to “you’re stupid” name calling.

    Perhaps, for you, this represents the epitome of intellectual and rigorous debate. I think they are the words of a sad loser who can’t back back himself up.

    Tell, me what do you do all day except write a blog which apparently no-one reads?

    That’s really pathetic Gert.

  115. Daniel Marks

    Adam, that was well out of order!

    1. Gert doesn’t write. He cuts and pastes.

    2. Greg Potemkin and I read his blog.

  116. Modders:

    They are not all “Fascists”, although many of their ideas probably originate
    from that sector.

    Again, there are various shades of haters, not all of them consciously “fascists”.

    So antisemitism originates in Fascism, does it? Hmmm… you learn something new everyday here!

    And the Fascists that aren’t “conscious”? They’re what? “Unconscious” Fascists? “Inadvertent” Fascists? “Unintended consequences” Fascists?

    Like antisemitism you like that word Fascism just a tad too much.

    From your comment on June 23, 2010 6:43 pm (the Franco thread):

    [Note to readers, there is a neo-Nazi who keeps posting rubbish on this thread and remains in the moderation queue]

    And the total score so far is: (drumroll…) one (1) neo-Nazi troll! Hardly an infestation, now is it? I really don’t see why you would attract anymore of them than anyone else. I think you’re bigging yourself up quite a bit…

  117. Precisely.

    The above is an example of why not to engage with Gert.

    Nothing, but nothing that you say to him gets through.

    He makes a wild contention, you refute it, he ignores what you said and continues on.

    But he’s not alone, there are many like him who can’t read, let alone think on these topics.

    So if you write “They are not all “Fascists”, although many of their ideas probably originate from that sector.”

    He then LEAPS to the conclusion that what you actually argued is that “So antisemitism originates in Fascism, does it?”

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    So even the simplest exchanges are confused by him.

    Thus, if there is no common ground on the basic meaning of words and sentences then surely complex ideas allude him?

  118. Modders:

    I’m doing with that example what you so many times. If you can’t take it don’t dish it…

    On the number of comments in your moderation queue, I simply don’t believe you. Either it’s just a few trolls making a splash or it’s you hitting ‘Delete!’ very generously. There’s no conceivable reason why you should receive more of these trolls than anyone else.

    As regards ‘complex ideas’, believing that in anti-Zionism ‘Zionism’ is code for Jews passes for complex thinking, does it? Rea-ea-eal nuanced!

    Did I hear you say you ‘hate’ the Tories and the Lib Dems? Your threshold where hatred sets in may need some adjusting. Shake the set a bit, attaboy…